This I Believe

Samantha - houston, Texas
Entered on February 1, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: equality

What is an American? How much does it take to be a true American? No one is a true American. Everyone comes from somewhere different. To me, “American” is just a title given to a citizen of America. Being American has no particular personality, beliefs, looks, or customs. From Yasir’s essay, I can understand that you could also be something else other than just one whole American, without having anyone have prejudice against you.

America is my home and exactly where I was born, but like Yasir, I am also something else. I am a Vietnamese American. Going out in public I can see that some of my older family members have a tough time “fitting in”. Sounding foreign and having a name so different makes others feel that they’re not a true American and look down on them like they’re from a different planet. It’s not hard to point out a strange accent or a name that doesn’t look right, something impossible to pronounce.

Everywhere they go, people look at them and automatically assume that they don’t know English and ignore them. At times at the mall, sellers persuade passer-bys to buy their product, but when my aunt or grandma walks around, they automatically look away like they never even passed by. Sometimes I wonder if America is the most prejudiced country in the world since they have so many immigrants that somewhat gives a threat to them.

Being born in America, I speak fluent English, but some people just don’t see it that way. Most of the time I could see people mocking Asian accents and the Chinese language to any Asian they see. It is a horrible stereotype that these ignorant people have against Asians, thinking that they all are Chinese. I am Vietnamese, but I still find that offending. So I always question myself, “Aren’t we all Americans? Does race really matter to everyone’s social life?”

I believe that we all are Americans no matter where we come from. I think we all have a history and we all came here to make something of ourselves. There shouldn’t be any hate towards anyone and no degrading anyone. Everyone should be themselves no matter how different it may be. This is my home where I could be a Vietnamese American.